Image by Micheal Stevens
The U.K continues its rollercoaster of Covid-19 nightlife restrictions after announcing yesterday that vaccine passports would now be mandatory in order to access nightclubs and venues. This comes less that 24 hours after the U.K government lifted all Covid-19 restrictions on July 19th, a day that was referred to as “Freedom Day.”
The reopening of the U.K’s nightlife sector has been plagued by a series of setbacks and U-turns from the government. Following a number of ‘pilot’ events which served as experiments for the government’s Events Research Unit, Restrictions had initially been scheduled to lift on June 21st. This was then pushed to July 19th after growing concern around rising Covid-19 cases believed to be the fault of the Delta variant. Despite case numbers continuing to rise, Prime minister Boris Johnson decided to move ahead with the July 19th date. Nightclubs and music venues around the country celebrated their legal reopening at midnight on Sunday, with hundreds of revellers lining the streets to enter parties and events at iconic venues such as London establishments fabric and Heaven.
Now, Johnson has announced the decision that vaccine passports proving an individual has been fully vaccinated will be mandatory to enter nightclubs and venues from September. He said, “I should serve notice now that by the end of September, when all over-18s will have had their chance to be double jabbed, we are planning to make full vaccination the condition of entry to nightclubs and other venues where large crowds gather,” Unlike the government’s pilot events, which required evidence of a negative PCR test for access, nightclubs would only be allowed to take in patrons who have been fully vaccinated and can provide proof of vaccination.
After being shut down for over 16 months, many nightlife industry workers have protested the government’s lack of financial support. Organisations such as Save Our Scene have been established to call out the lack of action from Johnson’s cabinet, and many protested the delayed reopening of the sector. Johnson says this new move, which comes almost 18 hours after the sector’s official reopening, is due to the “continuing risk posed by nightclubs.” Johnson is currently in isolation after his health secretary, Sajid Javid, tested positive for Covid-19